We have not seen gadgets on the phones yet, but LG has introduced some new stuff with the unveiling of the LG G8 ThinQ, which in practice looks less like a gadget than a glimpse into the future.
At MWC, we will probably see many brands, known or not, trying to proclaim that a function or feature will differentiate them from the crowd or "change the way we use our devices."
Foldable smartphones are really promising in this respect, but we have the impression that technology has been evolving in this way for some time. What LG did was add a feature that I just did not know how to do and that I did not want to do.
But before we can talk about the crazy vein scanning unlock method – which I unfortunately could test myself – let's talk about a very solid device that might deserve a look in the months to come.
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Design and material
I like the look and feel of the LG G8 ThinQ. It is not very far from a proven formula and for that it could be considered safe, at least from a design point of view. It is true, but that does not mean that it is a phone that looks bad or ugly. I would say far from it.
I was impressed by the beautiful glossy piano black finish on the plain black pattern as soon as I saw it during the very brief session of practical work at the CMM. I'm not a fan of nicks, but LG has stood at the adornment display to add the impressive Time Of Flight scanning technology and infrared detection.
The row of three rear cameras is a part of the design that I would like more manufacturers to adopt as well. The three cameras are security under the rear window. This means that the back is flush, smooth and no nodules, dimples or bumps are present as a result of the camera configuration.
However, you will find a fingerprint sensor mounted on the back, and I must admit that I could not test it during the LG G8 ThinQ's practice session, because it was – curiously – disabled. Because of this, I am unable to guarantee the speed and accuracy of it. You will simply have to use your imagination to determine if it suits you.
I was also delighted to see a helmet port at the bottom of the phone. The LG G8 ThinQ comes with a 32-bit quad DAC, so if you're serious about audio, this is another solid LG device in this regard.
I think the battery life will also be impressive, thanks to the 3500 mAh battery inside. This is not the biggest of the market and does not even match that of the LG V50 ThinQ, but it is a large enough cell that, hopefully, will feed the ThinQ G8 even during the most intense days.
Software and performance
The LG G8 ThinQ comes with a preloaded Android pie that does not even seem to be pushing away the Snapdragon 855 chipset or the 6GB of empty RAM inside. Everything was lively, responsive and the skin on the top was really light compared to other manufacturers. I would compare it directly with the Samsung Galaxy S10, at least given the short time I had with this device.
My biggest concern is whether LG will give up handset support in a few years or less. Samsung, another South Korean company, is constantly improving its efforts to update its devices as soon as possible.
LG struggles and owns many devices that end up wallowing in older versions of Android, thus aging terribly. For now, Android Pie is the perfect companion for the LG G8 ThinQ.
Now the good news: the new 'Air Motion' controls are really impressive and add a layer of control with which other phones simply can not compete. My initial thought was that it could work much like the old Samsung Galaxy S4, where you slide over the screen to navigate between pages. Of course, technology has made giant strides since then, so it's no surprise that 'Air Motion' is much better.
It allows you to adjust the volume, enter applications and even take a screen capture. The initial activation phase is a little slow but once you understand the process, it becomes a much faster and easier process. Although we have been shown how to do this, you must train yourself to activate it perfectly every time.
The infrared scanning venous Z camera was something I just did not have time to master. During LG's keynote demonstration, this technology looks very impressive and at least it separates the device from the crowd.
Like any LG camera, there is a lot to say. First of all, it is impossible to talk about the quality of the camera in most practical scenarios. We do not have enough time and it is impossible to get the image samples – I have seen people expelled from the events for trying.
That said, what I've seen from the camera in action is impressive fashions and results. The automatic tracking feature was as good as the one I've seen so far on a smartphone. He locked on a subject and followed very precisely.
I will say that I was impressed by the range of use of portrait mode, but the results were mixed given the test scenario. It is therefore logical to think that a verdict in due form will have to wait for the acquisition of a control unit.
The LG G8 ThinQ seems to be a great device. I love hands-free gestures, but my only concern is that it may be lost by the average consumer or even by fans of proven technologies. Then I wonder if I would even use this feature myself, except as a kind of "party trick" to impress his friends.
The identification number of the hand could be a much more salable aspect of the device. Some versions of Face ID may be fooled, but Hand Hand seems to be able to prevent this problem by doing a much more thorough scan. It remains to be seen whether this is true or not, but it is an interesting addition that constitutes an intriguing smartphone package.
As a phone released or unveiled at this point in 2019, it looks like a real mix of influences in one package. The equipment in the hand is really impressive and I intend to spend a little more time in the coming months.
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